When Elephants Weep:

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

When Elephants Weep: cover



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With chapters on love, joy, anger, fear, shame, compassion, and loneliness, all framed by a provocative reevaluation of how we treat animals, When Elephants Weep is the first book since Darwin's time to explore the full range of emotions throughout the animal kingdom, and it features a cast of hundreds. Meet Siri the Indian elephant, whose expressive sketches have been praised by artists Willem and Elaine de Kooning. Meet Koko, a bashful gorilla proficient in sign language who loves to play house with dolls - but only when no one is looking - and Michael, another signing gorilla, who cannot be disturbed whenever Pavarotti sings on television. Then there's Moja, the joyful mongoose who waltzes with squirrels; Toto, the steadfast chimpanzee who literally nursed his malaria-stricken human observer back to health; and Alex, an African grey parrot with an astonishing vocabulary, who, when left at the veterinarian's office, shrieked, "Come here! I love you. I'm sorry. I want to go back." By contrast, you'll also meet scores of biologists, ethologists, and animal behaviorists whose anecdote-rich field notes and studies paint compelling portraits of their subjects' rich emotional lives, yet whose conclusions frequently appear as fancy footwork around the obvious. When Elephants Weep also draws upon the illuminating experiences of animal trainers - from Sea World and the Ringling Bros. circus to Guide Dogs for the Blind - and is sprinkled with insights from pet owners, literature, myth, and fable to create a riveting and revolutionary portrayal of animals' lives that will permanently change and enrich the way you look at animals. Publisher's Weekly An examination of the inner lives of animals, arguing that they possess an emotional sensibility not unlike that of humans. (June) School YA-Animals do in fact lead emotional lives, according to Masson. He has managed to find hundreds of anecdotes from the published works and field studies of such noted behaviorists as Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Cynthia Moss that support his theory. It seems that, despite the fact that anthropomorphism is among the worst of scientific taboos, these respected scientists cannot help but notice the similarities between human and animal behavior. Chapters are organized by topic, such as fear, love, grief, and even compassion and beauty. An index provides access by species and by personal name of both people and animals. An excellent resource in psychology, this title will also be a useful addition for animal research. Its clear and conversational style makes it interesting for general readers as well. A well-documented, compelling, and thought-provoking defense of animal emotions.-Robin Deffendall, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA BookList - Ray Olson In his new book, erstwhile Freudian scholar and psychoanalyst Masson gathers, with the help of McCarthy, the evidence to date for the existence of emotions and, hence, something approaching human consciousness in animals. The various researchers' observations on the feelingful behaviors of dolphins, apes, bears, lions, elephants, and other well-studied creatures that Masson and McCarthy recount will not be news to those who keep even desultorily abreast of ethology--something that, given the plethora of naturalist TV programs, books, and reportage, isn't hard to do. Masson and McCarthy do a commendable job of synthesizing the material they tackle, however, making it efficiently readable. Finally, Masson succinctly and without any radical breast-beating makes, arguably as well as anyone ever has, the moral case for ceasing the exploitation and slaughter of animals.